Pulse: 60-Second Critic: Don’t Call Me Coach: A Lesson Plan for Life

Don’t Call Me Coach: A Lesson Plan for Life
By Phil Martelli (Camino Books; $24.95)

“When my Jewish friends refer to a ‘mensch,’” writes St. Joseph’s head men’s basketball coach Phil Martelli, “I think they’re really describing what it means to be a stand-up Philly guy.” Besides being a great coach, Martelli is also a great character, with his balding pate and absurdist, Seinfeld-influenced wit (“What are flu-like symptoms?” he asks), as well as a leader of men with a touch of the poet. This book entertains, while making you wish more coaches shared Martelli’s wisdom and passion for teaching. How did he know his record-setting 2004 team would be one for the ages? When every player attended the funeral of a teammate’s mother. “They reached for [their teammate’s] hand and touched his heart,” he writes. “They had already been a successful team. Now they became a family.” A-